Torbay Tattoo Tales project sat alongside the exhibition Tattoo: British Tattoo Art Revealed at Torre Abbey Museum a local authority run museum. Torbay is a highly deprived area of the South-West with its residents facing huge challenges arising from deprivation such as homelessness, substance abuse, low educational attainment, low wages and wellbeing. Bringing the exhibition to the area the team wanted to use it to begin conversations and tell residents stories. Thanks to a grant from the HLF the Torbay Tattoo Tales project was born.
There are 17 Tattoo parlours in the local area and an ever increasing percentage of local residents have tattoos. The project had 4 partnership strands:
The project was a big success – over 600 tales were captured and over 12k people visited the museum. Many visitors were coming for the first time. It was noticeable how the demographic in the museum changed during the exhibition run. New partnerships were forged; partnerships and relationships which will allow the museum to sustain going forward. The museum team strive to not only show world class work and engage local residents with exhibitions but also to reflect local residents own stories and experiences – by doing this on we can build a community around our Museum which will protect its future and feel a sense of pride in its work.